Three astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) will be taking the first of three October spacewalks today.
Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik will be leading all three missions, which will focus on repairs to the robotic arm, Canadarm2. Stretching 57 feet long when extended and weighing nearly 4,000 pounds, the arm helps move large payloads. Described by NASA as an "agile worm" due to its 540 degree rotation, the Canadian-built arm is an gigantic improvement over the original Canadarm, which flew on various Space Shuttles.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't experience wear and tear. Last month, one of its gripping mechanisms, known as a Latching End Effector (LEE), started stalling. It hasn't caused any slowdown in standard ISS operations, and the crew keeps a spare LEE around in case of just such an emergency.
Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, both American, will be installing the replacement today. It will be Bresnik's third space walk and Vande Hei's first. For their repairs, they'll be using NASA's pistol-grip tools especially designed for space.
You can watch watch live coverage of the spacewalk below.
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